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Aaron Marc Dimaano explains that there are different reasons for federalizing a country. Photo by Ram Manlatican.

PH Federalism a ‘Millennial’ concern – student leaders

Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) Chairperson Khryzza Mae Pinzon stressed the importance of the role of the youth in the discussion of the government system transitioning to federalism, saying that the youth can collectively come up with ideas that might help the country as it attempts to establish a federal government.

Pinzon led the student leaders in bringing up the pivotal involvement of the so-called ‘Filipino Millennials’ in discussing Philippine Federalism together with political experts from different organizations during a forum held last July 1, at the University’s Finster Auditorium.

Along with Samahan Central Board and Piglasapat, SCAP organized the forum “Federalism Roadshow: Youth Dialogue on Federalism in the Philippines” in partnership with Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking (CYAN).

The said event invited participants from different schools such as University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) – Main Campus, University of the Philippines (UP) – Mindanao, and Mindanao State University (MSU) – Marawi.

On the discussion of what Federalism is

Shenna Kim Carisma, the assistant project coordinator of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, initiated the discussion starting from the context setting which tackled the need for political reform in the country.

Meanwhile in the second part of the discussion, Aaron Marc Dimaano, a political expert and a noted author, conditioned the said subject with global survey on federalist governments, highlighting notable federal governments across the world such as Brazil, Germany, and India.

“[Countries] federalize for different uses and purposes. Some of them federalized because they have to fight an external threat. Some have to federalize to centralize the power. Some have to federalize because they are too big,” Dimaano said, clearing up that there is no universal Federalism formula, but rather it depends on the context of a particular country.

Dimaano further emphasized that Filipinos must know the purpose of a federal government in a Philippine context before establishing one.

On the other hand, CYAN Executive Director Rafaela Mae David talked about the Philippine Federalism Project.

In this session, David reacquainted the participants with similar movements on pursuing federal government from the very first governance of Emilio Aguinaldo down to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroya’s term and to current President Rodrigo Duterte’s staunch proposal of a federal Philippines.

Moreover, David conditioned the audience by asking them with relevant matters such as Charter Change (Cha-Cha) means, Constitutional Convention (Con-Con), and Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass). It was then summed up with her points as the Cha-Cha issue is being brought once again.

“Una, mahalaga ang konteksto—legitimacy. Legitimate ba ‘yung mga proponents na nag-pu-push for charter change?

“Mahalaga din ‘yung motive. Kapag pinanuod natin at pinag-aralan natin ang moves towards federalism, kailangan klaro sa atin kung ano ‘yung motibo bakit ba talaga kailangan mag-federalize,” she presented.

Also, David noted that the integrity of the process of renewing the constitution is important. She expounded the need of consideration of what best formula to use and whether the process is consultative or not.

A ‘Millenial’ concern

Dimaano noted the participation of youth is important in the political arena.

“Even if offhand to think that our role is supposed to wait for the adults to retire or give us the power. It’s actually a misconception because we are always in power. It’s just that some don’t exercise that power.

Just backtrack, the Philippines was created by young people, by ‘Millenials’ of 1890’s. When they were 25, they created a republic. Kayo ba, what do you do when you’re 20? The young people always have the power,” he pointed out.

Pinzon advocates any initiative that needs the involvement of young Filipinos especially on political matters.

“Inform others, educate other Millennials as well. Currently, together with the University of Southeastern Philippines, we’re having PH for Millennials sessions.

“We talk about different national issues and try to come up with alternative solutions or try to come up with a project, for example.”

Meanwhile, the incoming internal vice-president of USeP’s Campus Clubs Organization (CCO), Alexa Baldove, expressed her sentiments after the forum.

“This is not just about the national government or whatever government. This is about our sector, the youth. I, myself, an advocate of the youth, ‘yung youth should be involved talaga,” Baldove stressed.

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